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Serena Williams receives well-deserved Player of the Year award

Serena Williams has officially been named the Player of the Year by the WTA Tour. Like she had competition? There is absolutely no other woman that is more worthy of the honor – seven titles, including two Grand Slams (Wimbledon and US Open), Olympic gold and the WTA Championships, and a mind-blowing 48-2 win-loss record from the beginning of the claycourt season until the end of the year. To make things even more impressive, Serena won Wimbledon doubles title and Olympic gold medal with sister Venus in 2012 (notice, at the tournaments she was also victorious in singles).

Of course that's not all! Serena finished the year with a 4-0 record against No.1s and 15-0 against the Top 5! Overall, her 2012 win-loss record is 58-4. The fact that she ended the year ranked No.3 doesn't spoil the impression that she was a tornado on the courts. The manner in which she stormed to the titles is unforgettable.

This is the fourth time Serena has won the award. Previously she won it in 2002, 2008 and 2009. In 2002 she clinched eight titles and was undefeated at Grand Slams (21-0), undefeated by Top 5 players (11-0) and undefeated by No.1s (3-0). (photo courtesy of Fiji Water)

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22 thoughts on “Serena Williams receives well-deserved Player of the Year award

  1. Marine

    Agreed, nobody else deserved it more this year. The fact that none of the consistent players this year could beat her speaks for itself.

  2. JohnnyB

    Serena had the best 7 months ever in the history of the WTA. She has only finished #1 in two years – 2002 and 2009. Help me reconcile the fact why the number one player each year isn't the automatic winner of player of the year award? It seems to me the WTA is dising their own ranking system when they pick a player other than the #1 player for player of the year. Am I too blinded by statistics and ranking points to understand this choice?

  3. Marija Post author

    JohnnyB, when I think of the best player of the year, Serena is by far the first on my mind. The fact that No.1 player doesn't automatically win the Player of the Year award is a slap in the face to the WTA by the WTA.

  4. Veronica

    Agree Serena is pretty awesome and well deserving of the title. It's also great to see an American woman doing so well and making us all so proud!

  5. Marine

    Well,if Vika managed to win equal amount of titles as Serena or more AND had she managed to defeat her on a big stage (e.g US Open) she could have got the award. But she's not accomplished any of that so I understand the logic behind giving the award to Serena instead.

  6. fifi

    if serena can maintain this high level of play to 2013 no one can beat her!!! she is by far the best player this year… Even azarenka and sharapova wasn't at her level!! serena wins the big ones and the others are ranked higher just because they are playing every week .. anyway 15 grand slams can give the real image of serena :)

  7. JohnnyB

    Yes, Marija, my thoughts exactly – a slap in the face to the WTA by the WTA. I couldn't have stated it better. If she was the best player, than she should have won the most ranking points. It would be interesting to research how many players were named the player of the year who did not finish #1. I know Serena did it once before in 2008. The ranking system rewards players who play more tournaments, but doesn't that make sense? Fans want to see the top stars in person. The ranking system does not take into account which player beats another. Azarenka's win in Australia equals Sharapova's in France equals Serena's in America or England. My hope is that Serena plays a full schedule in 2013 and is ranked #1. For 2012 the statistics say Azarenka won the #1 ranking and Sharapova was #2.

  8. Zech

    JohhnyB,

    Couldn't disagree with you more. In terms of sheer numbers, the rankings are simple mathematical equations to be sure. But not every tournament is valued the same whether by number or in a qualitative sense. This is not hard to understand. Wimbledon > Indian Wells; 2 slams and Gold Medal > 1 slam and silver or bronze medal; and so on and so on. I think we've all seen how you have repeatedly bashed Serena and Venus over the years in favor of other players. There is no doubt that she was the best player of 2012. None. Player of the Year isn't just about ranking points… it is also about the personal narrative and the quality of the wins the player selected for the award brings to the table. Vika (though she's my favorite after Serena) and Maria (not a fan but I have a lot of respect for her) did not come close to winning the titles and recognition that Serena won, whether judging quantitatively or qualitatively.

    And you're right, "the ranking system does not take into account which player beats another" and "ranking system rewards players who play more tournaments" but everyone who has eyes to see, saw the demolition jobs Serena had over both Vika and Maria on the biggest stages, multiple times. Those are also contributing factors to who qualitatively deserves the award. Not just numbers. And Serena is ranked highly at #3, so in light of her ranking points and qualitative wins, she is the only choice for player of the year.

    One more thing, I know you and other posters have commented that "fans want to see the top stars in person" or something to notion that top players (Serena mostly in terms of criticism) should be penalized or have to play more small tournaments so people can see them play that may not have a chance to do so otherwise and the slams aren't all that important, etc etc… I would simply counter that not everyone has the chance to go see a LIVE tournament and the big events like the slams are the only ones aired on TV which is the only way for many, many more people to get to see their favorite players when they otherwise wouldn't get to see them.

  9. Zech

    Marija, just a comment on your quote:

    "The fact that No.1 player doesn't automatically win the Player of the Year award is a slap in the face to the WTA by the WTA."

    I'm not sure I agree with this notion. I would say that for all the mathematical bits of sport in terms of ranking and how a player goes about achieving said ranking, that the Player of the Year award not being given to the #1 player automatically, says more about athletes not being machines and the general unpredictability that is inherent in sport. Giving the award to someone who made a comeback of preposterous proportions isn't much a slap in the face to the WTA, in my opinion so much as it is a "hollaback" to the nature of sports. Serena didn't win the most points because of her performance prior to Charleston, but who can deny her dominance from then on? And Vika and Maria were no slouches either, which makes Serena's accomplishments all the more impressive to me.

  10. kumbabeck

    Serena won because she was super than the two players ahead of her ,she won quality tournaments ,According to the wta site this is the first time in history that a player had a run in seven months like Serena had, come on people she made history,Serena won 7 titles ,Victoria won 6, Maria won 3, and on top of that Serena won Wimbledon doubles and olympic doubles , Only two other players have won the award more than serena and serena wins it for the fourth time M navratilova won 7 times ,S .graf won 8 times,Serena is the only player that wins two grandslam in a year,Maria wins every two years that is why serena has 15 slams and Maria has only 4.

  11. kumbabeck

    Anyone in doubt look at the results ,Serena beat Victorai the no.1 player 5 times the year , and Serena beat SHARAPOVA THE NO. 2 PLYER 3 TIMES AND THOSE THREE TIMES SHARAPOVO DID NOT WIN A SET FROM SERENA .So pls lets give credit and not start to question this and that,in all she beat those two ahead of her 8 times ,with that i rest my case,

  12. Tulp

    Lest we forget: Serena won another important, though "unofficial", title: the Panic Room Queen. And, if my memory serves me well, it had something to do with the anti-doping officers ringing her doorbell, at the time she herself allotted for such business…

  13. kumbabeck

    Oh man get a life with all due respect serena has been winning for the past 15 years ,so if anything she could have be found wanting long time ago,sure there are lots of haters who wish that is the case .The family is not stupid the know there will always be people like hovering with remarks like that, u know hard work pays something ,leave the key board for awhile and try the raquact and some tennis balls and see how u get on

  14. Tulp

    Oh woman, I'm deeply impressed by a life which YOU, as opposed to me, already have, so I would not dare to even think about replying to such an eloquent, well-grounded and, above all, thoughtful "reply" to my comment – how could I ever dare? With all due respect, of course.

  15. Marija Post author

    Zech, good point, you actually made me alter my statement a bit. It is true, not everything can be expressed in numbers and I have a strong feeling that Serena was the best player this year and the rest of the world happens to think the same. It would be awesome if the No.1 player would also be the best player, but nothing in life is black and white.

    Tulp, her title of a Panic Room Queen is definitely worrying. But until she's officially accused of doping, we can only speculate. If the officials are letting her get away with it for the sake of money and sponors then the system is deeply flawed. If some day they accuse her, she will be ripped off her titles. Until then, she's clean for me.

  16. JohnnyB

    Zech, I have never ever "bashed" Venus Williams. When I bashed Serena Williams, she more than deserved to be bashed. Her actions at 2 US Opens were dispicable. Before that she would feign injuries, back out of tournaments where she had committed to play and obviously disliked playing tennis. She is a changed person for the past 7 months. I believe her real and very serious illness has motivated her to play her best tennis. I certainly didn't bash her in these comments. I have two degrees in math and the rankings are as fair and mathematically accurate than any other system devised so far. Numbers are the only perfect language. My point was the system ranked Victoria Azarenka #1 so wouldn't she automatically be player of the year?

    A little further research, Marija, and I found this player of the year award is based on a popularity contest with voting by the international media and not the WTA. The WTA champion for 2012 is Victoria Azarenka, the person who won the most ranking points.

  17. Zech

    JohnnyB,

    Haha well I think your article back from 2010 talking about the Williamses as undeserving of their the respect they have earned and receive from the tennis establishment, etc etc qualifies as "bashing" both Serena AND Venus Williams. If you don't think that qualifies as "bashing" Venus as well as Serena you should probably check the comment sections again. And I'm not saying that you bashed Serena in your comments here as well. I just think that your past comments on Serena have always been negative (until recently) and its hard to read your comments regarding Serena as anything but negative or grudgingly respectful in light of past comments you have made and how you have always favored other players over her. (:

    And again, I stress the importance of both qualitative and quantitative victories. Serena had both. Vika had both but much less in the qualitative sense in comparison to Serena. Serena winning the Player of the Year, most certainly is not a popularity contest. She won because her ranking and achievements, quantitatively and QUALITATIVELY, in tandem garnered more respect than Vika. 2 slams > 1 slam. They both had 7 titles but Serena's victories included the biggest and most important tournaments. Vika's and Maria's consistency throughout the year are impressive no doubt. They were also the players to beat, not named Serena. But they did not win the titles Serena won. Serena winning the award shows the importance that people who have eyes to see the fact Serena beat Vika and Maria on the biggest stages multiple times also plays a major role in determining this award.

    And I disagree that numbers are the only perfect language and assert that qualitative notions are equally important. They both play a factor. You cannot have a fair system without both, which is why of course not all tournaments have the same amount of ranking points. Victoria is a legitimate #1. She knows how to win and is no pushover. But she was not the best player of the year. She won the most points, but for 7 out of the 12 months she wasn't on top and Serena was. And in that time Serena also won the biggest titles and Vika did not. Its not just about numbers, although 7 months of dominance technically qualifies as the majority of a 12 month year.

  18. Marija Post author

    John, I know that the voting was done by international tennis media, but the WTA Tour announces that as their award, as a WTA award, so Serena is their champion. Also, the fact that the tennis media were voting doesn't imply that popularity was the criterion. I agree with the tennis media :)

  19. Tulp

    JohnnyB: No amount of degrees in math can help anyone who believes that "she is a changed person for the past 7 months" or doesn't see the secret of "her real and very serious illness" locked up in the panic room. Unfortunately.

  20. JohnnyB

    Zech, it doesn't matter who is number 1 during the year. The only ranking that matters is the year end ranking. Only the year end ranking shows all and only 2012 ranking points. You should take a look at Malik Omair's latest article comparing the statistics on the top 3 players. He clearly shows the acuracy of the rankings. The statistics clearly show that both Azarenka and Sharipova garnered more ranking points even in the slams. Although Serena won 2 and they each won only 1 slam. Serena lost in the FIRST round of the French. We agree on your other comments, but numbers are the only pure language – ask any math major.
    Marija, I'm not letting the WTA off the hook by any means. They look very stupid. But it was a vote and theirfore a popularity contest and Serena is not the WTA's cahmpion – Vika is their champion. Serena is their "player of the year".
    Tulp, compare her last seven months with the seven months previous. Serena herself has stated that her life threatening injury was her motivation. I look forward to her playing an injury-free, full schedule in 2013.

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